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Guest Blogger: Contributor, Becoming Writer
Member since August 14, 2013

This article is by a guest blogger. Would you like to write for The Write Practice? Check out our guest post guidelines.

Website: https://thewritepractice.com/author/guestblogger/

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5 Writing Contest Strategies to Improve Your Winning Chances

Fear, anticipation, and self-doubt are just a few emotions I felt during my first writing contest. Maybe you’re in the same place now. Wondering if you have a chance among the many entrants. Uncertain if it’s worth the time and effort.

Short answer—it is. And that holds true whether you win or lose.

But I also want to reveal five tips for improving your winning chances in a writing contest. See, I won the Short Fiction Break 2020 Summer Writing Contest with my story Dark Time. Here’s how.

10 Writing Jobs You Can Do for a Living

You love to write. People have told you you’re good at it, and you sense they’re right.

But writing is one thing. Writing for a living is another. How do you know the time is right, or whether you really have what it takes?

You’d better be certain you know what you’re getting yourself into before you take the leap. Full-time writing is no hobby. And it’s not easy. But if you’re called to it—oh, the rewards.

Writers’ Conferences for Newbies: How to Attend Your First Writers’ Conference

Writers’ conferences can launch a career. They bring writers face to face with authors, agents, editors, publishers, and other writers at all skill levels.

But they can feel overwhelming for the uninitiated. With all the offerings, how does a writer navigate a conference to get the most from it?

The Script Polish: How to Maximize Your Screenplay’s Impact and Minimize Risk of Rejection

Polishing a screenplay, or doing a polish on a script, is a part of the screenwriting process that few screenwriters ever go into detail about when asked. Even when plied with liquor. Sure, we’ve all heard writers and producers use terms like “tighten it up” or “give it some polish” or “tweak it for production,” but what do any of those terms really mean?

Let’s break “the script polish” process down into two general goals a screenwriter needs to focus on when sitting down to polish her script. Those two general goals are maximizing impact and minimizing risk.

How to Write an Antagonist That Everyone Loves — And Why You Should

Not many people like antagonists. The antagonists are supposed to be antagonizing — that’s their whole purpose. They are designed to aggravate the protagonists; to foil the plans of the heroes and create conflict. They are supposed to be a villain for our heroes to defeat, right?

Sure. But what if they could be more?

How to Get the Most From Writing Advice
by Guest Blogger in How to Get the Most From Writing Advice
08:30 am on August 2, 2018

I subscribe to several writing web and blog sites. I trust them to give me sound writing advice. But sometimes the sheer volume of advice engulfs me, and I feel like I’m in the middle of a tidal wave.

Being overwhelmed can lead to creative paralysis. I work myself into a frenzy trying to apply everything to all my writing right now. Or, I close the computer or put down my pen and count the leaves on my philodendron plant. Neither approach is helpful.

With so much useful writing advice, how do you know where to start?

How to Win the Readers’ Choice Award: 5 Strategic Things One Winner Did

“I published a book, didn’t tell a soul about it, and it became a best seller!!” Said no writer ever.

But we wish it were true, don’t we? We want to hole up and write epic tales and thought-provoking prose, not hock books door to door and shout from the rooftops about how awesome we are. Can’t we just write? Well … write, but also be discovered and then catapulted to great heights by someone else.

We’d like readers to find us that way, please. We don’t want to navigate those scary waters of how to market a book.

How to Write a Scene: 3 Theater Techniques to Make Your Story Jump Off the Page

It’s time to write that scene. You know, the one you’ve been avoiding. You’ve sketched out your character and the scene’s objective, but how do you get your character from point A to point B? What exact words should he use? What specific actions should she take to accomplish her scene goal?

If you’ve ever faced that blank page with these questions in mind, you’ll be pleased to learn about three techniques, borrowed from the actor’s playbook, that will boost your writing and make your story shine. Let’s take a look at how to write a scene with the mindset of an actor.

Healing From Shame: How to Overcome the Insidious Cause of Writer’s Block

Every time we sit down to write, our mood and state of mind affect our words. We infuse, to some extent, everything we write with our unique “voice.” Our emotions come through on the page.

When we’re struggling to eke out even a few words and make sense of our writing, it shows in our work. Our characters are flat. Our scenes are dull and passive. Our plot is thin and weak. Nothing we try fixes the problems. Or, maybe words don’t come at all.

We may declare that we have a case of writer’s block, particularly if we’ve wrestled with the vexation for weeks or months. But, there may be a stronger and more insidious obstacle: shame.

How to Use Big Words Without Making a Fool of Yourself

Have you ever used a word for years — like, maybe during your thesis defense or in a high-profile report for work — then realized one day that you had it totally wrong? That big word you thought was making you look so erudite was, in fact, working against you. Turns out, coif is not the same as coiffure, and you never even realized it.

No one is immune from this, neither journalists nor poets, essayists nor novelists. The problem often stems from our natural inclination as writers to grab hold of an exciting new word and just run with it. Not only do we end up using words just plain wrong, our enthusiasm leads to overuse as well.

By slowing down just a little bit, recognizing common pitfalls, and inserting some deliberate practice into your vocabulary usage, you can turn this trend around.

Premade Book Covers: The Secret to Amazing Covers

When self-publishing a book, every author is faced with the dilemma of creating a book cover that is worthy of their writing.

But most of us don’t have the money to hire a top-notch book design professional, or the tools and skills to create one ourselves. However, there is another way that many authors are finding is much cheaper and will guarantee your satisfaction: Premade book covers.

How to Empower Your Writing With a Brilliant Epigraph

The epigraph is simply a well-chosen quotation, set at the beginning of a text. Epigraphs can open essays, books, chapters of a book, or even each story in a book—any writing, really, which suggests its theme.

They can, however, do so much more.

After a short primer, just to get us on the same page with a working understanding of the epigraph, and a little confessional angst, you will have a couple of practice challenges to engage your new friends.

Character Voice: How to Actually Listen to Your Protagonist

Anyone who has dipped their toes into the world of writing novels knows how crucial character development is to telling strong stories. Plot, setting, and dialogue are necessary building blocks of fiction, but your characters are the foundation that your story is resting on—without dynamic characters, no amount of plot twists, fantastical settings, or authentic dialogue will magically transform into a novel that people want to read.

If the success of your novel is in fact riding on the strength of your characters, you need to know who they are, inside and out. More importantly, you need a character with a strong voice, one that can reveal the emotional depths of your story to the reader.

Prince or Pauper? The Pros and Cons of Making Your Hero a Noble vs. Common Stock

Every author has had to tackle following question at some point, whether it be Shakespeare or J.K. Rowling: Are the heroes of my tale going to be of common stock or noble heritage? Will I create a lower class or upper class character? It has been a heated topic of debate since long before the Brothers Grimm ever picked up a pen, and it’s a debate that continues on to this day.

What’s Really Keeping You from Writing?

I consider myself a writer. But there are a lot of days on which I don’t write anything more than a post on Facebook. Then there are days where I spend hours pecking away at the keyboard. But overall, I would love to write more, not less.

We all know some writers who are really disciplined. For example, Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day every day without fail. Why can’t I do this? What’s keeping me from writing? What’s keeping you from writing more?

2 Ways to Beat Writing Procrastination and Finish Your WIP

We hear voices in our heads in the middle of the night. We see scenes in our minds like movies and are compelled to capture them on the page. We look around at the world and notice things, things other people might not see. Writing procrastination—well, that’s just not in our vocabulary.

We are lovers of stories. We gasp at expertly crafted sentences. We smile at innovative turns of phrase. We’re left breathless at the fierce beauty of a story well told.

We are writers. And writers write, right?

Well…

Why Dynamic Characters Don’t Need to Change

The most crushing piece of criticism authors can hear is that their main character is “flat” or “two-dimensional.” This is especially true for writers who have poured a lot of their personal experience into their protagonist’s journey. Conventional writing wisdom tells us that main characters need to be “dynamic” characters who evolve over the course of the story.

But what exactly does “dynamic” mean? If your protagonist doesn’t actually change all that much, does that make them flat and static? Are they, by default, a poorly written character?

3 Secrets Great Writers Know About Experimental Fiction

Nobody wants their writing to be described as “conventional” or “formulaic,” and in an effort to avoid such damning judgements, many young writers throw themselves past creative writing guides, the rules of writing, and all the catalogues of conventional wisdom, instead opting to carve their own path.

But before you follow suit and bend all the rules to write experimental fiction, there are a few things you need to know.


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